August 18, 2013: “Artistic Voice”


A year ago in Quilters Newsletter there was an interesting article called “Finding Your Voice” by Leni Wiener.  In it she presents the case for “forging your own path and expressing your own personality and creative vision in a style that is yours alone.”  She listed some ways to do this.  Those include looking seriously at many quilts, determining which quilts you like and which ones you don’t like and exploring why, becoming an expert in the techniques required to achieve your vision, understanding your color choices, and avoiding creating work that is derivative of others.

Clearly my “voice” is as a “traditional” quilter; I haven’t, so far, made “art” quilts.  I love beautifully designed traditional quilts made with the highest degree of craftsmanship.  Traditional quilts can be “original” and creative, using decades old quilt block designs as springboards to create quilts with new arrangements and colors.  Perhaps that could be called “derivative” however to me, if these are done well, they are new artistic creations and not just copies.   I strive for this.  In fact, I have read that some artists say  the truth is that all art is derivative to some degree.  We are all influenced by visuals, designs, etc. that we have seen,  those influences are often seen in one’s artistic work, and some feel it’s impossible to ignore those influences.  So, what’s the difference between “influence” and “derivative” – perhaps a matter of degree or interpretation…

As for color, I love and am drawn to warm colors much more so than cool colors.  I use lots of red – my favorite color! – gold, yellow, and green in my quilts – even orange and brown; I use blue more sparingly, and I use purple infrequently.  I’ve worked hard to become expert at hand applique and hand quilting.  I’ve stayed true to my vision – the  body of my work definitely speaks “traditional.”

However, Leni says “expect your voice to change.  Creative people grow and evolve throughout their lives.”  So…. I do like to try new things and to challenge myself.   At shows, even though I prefer looking at traditional quilts, I also enjoy looking at some of the beautifully executed art quilts.  I’d say that the 2 quilts in my “Spirit of Japan” series lean toward the nontraditional and perhaps at some point in the future I will explore in that direction a little more.  Meanwhile, I still want to make more traditional quilts!

I attended the “World Quilt Show” in Manchester this past week.  This is an excellent show and what makes it unique is that there are quilts from around the world.  It’s just fabulous to be able to see what quilters in other countries are doing.  This year there really seemed to be a dearth of truly traditional quilts so I was disappointed in that.  However, there were still many lovely quilts to see and be inspired by.   I don’t have time to show the pictures today but hope to post again tomorrow with lots of pictures!

Thanks for stopping by!



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